ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Withdraws Draft Addendum V & Maintains Current Measures until Completion of 2018 Benchmark Stock Assessment
Alexandria, VA – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board chose to not advance Draft Addendum V to Amendment 6 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Striped Bass forward for public comment. Instead, it decided to wait until the release of the results of the 2018 benchmark stock assessment before it considered making changes to the management program.
The Draft Addendum was initiated to consider liberalization of commercial and recreational regulations to bring fishing mortality to the target based on the findings of the 2016 assessment update. The Draft Addendum proposed alternative measures aimed to increase total removals (commercial and recreational) by approximately 10% relative to 2015 to achieve the fishing mortality target in 2017. However, 2016 harvest estimates increased without changing regulations. Additionally, fish from the 2011 year class, which was the largest recruitment event since 2004, will become increasingly available to ocean fisheries in the coming years, possibly resulting in further increases to harvest along the coast. The Board also expressed concern that changing the management program could result in fishing mortality exceeding the target.
In preparation for the 2018 stock assessment, the Board approved the Terms of Reference for the assessment, which will explore new biological reference points for management use.